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Welcome back to the Trentonian's Full-Court Press blog. Yes, we're still alive, and with the 2015-16 season rapidly approaching, it's time to fire up the old blog for another season. Check back here throughout the year for updates on all things Rider and Princeton, including coverage of both the MAAC and Ivy League. Feel free to drop me a line on twitter @kj_franko ( or email

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Rider continues slide in MAAC standings with loss to Canisius

LAWRENCEVILLE — If Rider still has any thoughts, however unlikely, about making a run in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament, it will have to win four games in four days.

The Broncs made sure they won’t have one of the top five seeds after losing for the sixth time in seven games following a 79-66 setback against Canisius Friday night at Alumni Gymnasium.

“We’re just not competing,” senior guard Anthony Myles said. “We’re not responding to our adversity like we need to. It’s just disappointing. Nobody was expecting it to happen this way. We still got the tournament to look forward to so we can’t hold our heads down.”

The way Rider is playing makes it doubtful it’ll be hanging around Springfield long. This was fifth consecutive home loss and condemned the Broncs to the opening round of the conference tournament.

Rider can finish anywhere from sixth to eighth pending tiebreakers. Siena clinched the fifth seed and final bye with this Broncs loss.

“We just got to stay optimistic and just hope we can make a run in the tournament,” Myles said. “We can’t go into the tournament with our heads down. If that’s the case, we might as well just stay here.”

On Friday night, Rider (13-15, 9-10) was done in by the brilliance of Billy Baron.

Canisius’ senior guard, who Broncs coach Kevin Baggett tabbed as his Player of the Year, scored 29 points on 10-for-15 shooting and dished out 10 assists.

“He can do so many different things,” Baggett said. “Not only can he score the ball, he does a good job getting his teammates involved. He had 10 assists tonight. That’s why I think the kid is really good and none of his play is selfish at all. He’s just a really good player that I think can play in the NBA at some point.”

Jordan Heath finished with 21 points for the Golden Griffins (20-10, 14-5), who have put together back-to-back 20-win seasons. Zach Lewis added 14 and Chris Perez chipped in 10.

Heath was 8-for-9 from the field and the recipient of several laser-like Baron passes as the Canisius guard made Rider look like it was chasing a ghost.

The Golden Griffins shot 53.7 percent for the game and led by as many as 22 with 2:11 remaining before the Broncs sliced some of that margin down.

Myles and Jimmie Taylor finished with 15 points each and Tommy Pereira added 11.

Myles, Danny Stewart and Pereira — the team’s three seniors — were recognized before this the final home contest.

Both Myles and Stewart have put together excellent career as the duo ranks 16th and 17th on the program’s all-time scoring list.

But they went out with a whimper in their final home with Rider sliding to 6-7 at Alumni Gymnasium this season thanks to this five-game home losing skid.

“One thing goes wrong and it just snowballs,” Myles said. “We have to learn how to respond.”

The Broncs finish the regular season Sunday at Iona, which has already locked up the top seed, and then move on to the MAAC tournament beginning Thursday, March 6 at the MassMutual Center.

“I know this is a fragile team right about now,” Baggett said. “Things just seem to magnify and we lost our confidence. We’re just trying to find a way to win one game. Trying to find a way to win a half, then win the second half and win a game.

“Like I said, we’re going to go back tomorrow and compete again. No one is going to feel sorry for us.”


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